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VOX

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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 21,871

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If my thoughts seem unrealistic or hyperbolic, there's much to date that I DIDN'T "envision."

I knew full well that a Trump presidency would be terribly toxic and costly in terms of racism and xenophobia, judicial appointments, etc., but there is much I didn’t foresee:

-I didn’t envision 45 actually winning the presidency, but it happened (with some outside help).
-I didn’t envision the extent to which the Republican Party would eventually throw its full weight behind a dangerous, utterly corrupt con-man of questionable sanity.
-I didn’t envision the extent of Russian meddling, but it happened, and it continues.
-I didn’t envision the ho-hum, in-your-face visibility of lawbreaking in plain sight, but it’s happening.

Americans have been ideologically “weaponized” against one another, and thrown into a partisan divide like no other time, except perhaps the Civil War.

There are now chiseled-in-stone, hardline stances on issues from whch neither side will ever budge: climate change and the importance of science, immigration, gun safety legislation, women’s reproductive rights, quality healthcare, on and on.

How much longer will a majority of Americans be content to live under minority Republican rule, due to right-wing exploitation of the Electoral College and Senate apportionment (not to mention gerrymandering and voter suppression)? A citizen of Wyoming, the smallest state by population, has approximately 67 times the voting-power of a citizen in California, the largest state by population. And this particular disparity among the states is only increasing.
Example: population/representation/voting power in seven combined Republican states:
Alaska 737 thousand
Idaho 1.7 million
Montana 1.1 million
North Dakota 760 thousand
South Dakota, 882 thousand
Utah 3.2 million
Wyoming 578 thousand
TOTAL combined population: 9 million
TOTAL number of combined senators: 14
vs.
California, Democratic state, population: 40 million
TOTAL number of senators: 2

Where do things go from here? How much can one group take from the other? All of which is to say, I have no actual idea how an actual schism would unfold. But the situation (even if Trump’s gone) cannot continue in this matter. Our democracy can only withstand so much chaos.

Most everyone thought the idea of Trump actually becoming president was a huge joke.

Really— DONALD TRUMP as president of the United States? That’s a completely insane idea. Never gonna happen. Even Republicans wouldn’t stand for it.
-He’ll get his ass kicked in the primaries.
-The “Access Hollywood” video will destroy him.
-His insulting a Gold Star family and Senator McCain will cause an erosion of support.
-He’ll be buried by a Democratic landslide in 2016.
-He’ll be thrown out of office by 2017.
-The Stormy Daniels scandal will ruin him.
-Wait until the Russia collusion ALL comes out!
-Wait until the money-laundering documentation comes out!
-Robert Muller will torpedo him.

Clearly, American politics— and specifically the Republican Party— aren’t what they once were. Nothing should be considered off the table. They’d be ecstatic if any Trump— Donald, Junior, or, crazy as it sounds right now, Ivanka— could be a figurehead for American far-right nationalism.

From The Daily Beast, 11/24/18, on this unlikely but possible scenario—
What If Trump Actually Tries to Serve Three Terms?
by Matt Lewis
<snip>
The rise of Donald Trump—a president whose authoritarian tendencies are on full display—makes what might otherwise seem like a paranoid concern a little more plausible.
<snip>
[Regarding Trump’s repeated joking about a third term] This was shtick, but humor can be a safe way to launch a trial balloon—or to inject an idea into the public sphere. The fact that Trump’s audience laughed and applauded his comments is less than desirable.

One potential worry could be that a president could use some sort of national emergency—say a widespread terrorist attack—as a pretext for postponing elections. I’m not suggesting some sort of false-flag operation, but instead that a legitimate national emergency provides an opening. (This wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented. After the 9/11 attacks, then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani tried to extend his term for three months.)
<snip>
But it’s wiser to overreact than to underreact. Liberal democracy is precious. Even if the odds are slim that the president would try to take a page from Putin and Xi—men, it seems, Trump admires—the stakes demand that we remain vigilant.
<snip>

The salient question is: "How can sane Americans get rid of this insane administration?"

That’s number one, getting 45 OUT. Another four years of his incompetence, intolerance and lawlessness will utterly stamp out our democracy.

Running a hard-left Democratic candidate— as much as that would be welcomed— could be difficult in a time when not just the U.S., but numerous democracies worldwide have embraced right-wing nationalism.

As good as many of the current crop of Democratic candidates are, no one has yet emerged as “the one” to tackle Trump, especially with the goddamned Electoral College choking down general elections where the decision ultimately rests with a mere handful of “swing states.”

It really boils down to this: a Democratic candidate who can connect and do well in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin; or 4 more years of fatal Trumpism.

The insane cabinet picks are the deliberate work of Steve Bannon.

It was Bannon’s nihilistic “joke” to fill posts with the least qualified people, or “funnier” yet, with people who had a hostile track record regarding the very posts to which they were appointed. Bannon wants to destroy democracies, which allows rule-by-chaos, and eventual far-right fascist rule. (The U.S. is currently teetering somewhere between chaos and fascism.)

When (if?) this all plays out, I believe that Steve Bannon will be known as one of the world’s worst enemies of democracy. He’s been in contact with every country that currently has a reactionary right-wing nationalist government or presence: Russia (obviously), Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and more recently, Brazil.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/fortune.com/2017/02/25/bannon-trump-cabinet-cpac/amp/
Steve Bannon Says Trump’s Cabinet Picks Are Intended to ‘Deconstruct’ Regulation and Agencies
David Z. Morris
Fortune Magazine
February 25, 2017

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said that President Trump’s cabinet picks are aimed at “deconstruction of the administrative state,” meaning weakening regulatory agencies and other bureaucratic entities.

“The way the progressive left runs, is if they can’t get it passed, they’re just going to put in some sort of regulation in an agency,” Bannon continued. “That’s all going to be deconstructed and I think that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.”

President Trump’s critics have noted that at least some of his Cabinet picks seem uniquely unsuited to their roles. Scott Pruitt, recently confirmed as head of the EPA, had previously challenged its regulations in more than a dozen suits. Trump’s initial pick for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, operated a company that depended on low wages and faced allegations of labor abuse. Puzder’s nomination was scuttledby the discovery that he had employed at least one undocumented immigrant.

Trump’s FCC chairman and energy secretary have also been critics of the very agencies they’re now tasked with managing. Rick Perry, Trump’s pick for energy secretary, famously called to eliminate the department while running for President in 2011.

Putting anti-regulation chairs at the top of regulatory bodies is nothing new for conservative administrations—George W. Bush’s EPA administrator Stephen Johnson, for instance, pushed back against staff recommendations and slackened enforcement. As the saying goes, elections have consequences, and lightening the regulatory load on businesses is a pillar of modern Republican doctrine.

What’s remarkable here, though, is Bannon’s framing of these moves as more anti-state than pro-business. The CPAC comments about ‘deconstruction’ are a toned-down version of startling statements made last August to the Daily Beast. Bannon impishly declared himself a “Leninist,” saying that the Soviet leader “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

It’s not a stretch to see Bannon’s comments reflected not only in Trump’s cabinet picks, but in his slow progress in filling hundreds of lower-level cabinet positions. Until they’re filled, those positions are staffed by temporary administrators with reduced power, leaving enforcement and other matters in limbo.


Unpredictability has been baked into Trump’s campaign since the beginning. Almost a year ago Trump spoke with the Washington Post on foreign policy, stating “I always say we have to be unpredictable….predictable is bad.” While some now see destructive chaos in the White House, Trump recently boasted that “the White House is running so smoothly” at his rally in Melbourne, Florida. Bannon’s comments suggest that chaos may, in fact, be part of the Trump administration’s agenda.

Bannon's goal: destroy liberal democracies from within, opening the way for white-nationalist rule.

He foresees a white nationalist “empire” running from North America across Europe into Russia. His “reasoning” is to create new, strange-bedfellow alliances between old enemies, in order to combat the migration of brown people who are fleeing their countries due to political upheaval, and the effects of climate change, where water and crops are increasingly difficult to manage.

Bannon’s favorite book reveals his true nature: a lurid, extremely racist 1973 French novel, “Camp of the Saints,” by Jean Raspail, which presents the following scenario, per Sarah Jones in New Republic, 02/02/18:
https://newrepublic.com/article/146925/notorious-book-ties-right-far-right
Raspail’s enemy is the entire non-white world. It tramples monks and white saviors alike in its invasion of France. His refugees are nameless caricatures, with no inner lives. He ascribes to them an almost supernatural combination of obstinance and depravity. The smell of death is the first sign their rickety ships are about to land, because they dump their corpses in the sea. They are savages, led by a literal shit-eater, and they foist their poison dead upon the shores of Europe before their feet touch earth.

And here is a telling portion of a reader review on Amazon, where the book has 308 reviews and a disturbing 4.5-star rating:
The truth people do not face
This ill-reputed narrative of the invasion of France by filthy outcaste masses from India has been reprinted several times since its publication in 1973 and seems to be going stronger than ever. Recently Steve Bannon called the recent migrations from Middle Eastern countries a ‘Camp of Saints’ type of thing”. Commonly ragarded as a racist tract, this book is actually rich in ideas and says more about the West than the East.“I had no idea this Steve, eh, Bannon existed at all,” the author said recently in an interview with Tablet magazine. “... a French journalist had me listen to what Bannon said about me the other day. I must say I was stunned. ... I don’t know this character and he has understood “The Camp of the Saints.” He has said that reading it made him see what should be done. Isn’t it extraordinary?”

More here:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/observer.com/2018/05/the-insanity-of-alt-right-bannon-approved-the-camp-of-the-saints/amp/
Alt-Right Bible ‘Camp of The Saints’ Proves Everyone’s Still Insane
The Observer
By Michael Malice 05/02/18
<snip>
Yet for members of the alt-right, these aren’t headlines so much as a prophecy made 45 years ago. In 1973, French author Jean Raspail published “Le Camp des Saints,” translated into English as “The Camp of the Saints.” Steve Bannon has repeatedly made reference to the text, using it as a shorthand for the worst-case-scenarios of immigration. Richard Spencer’s Radix declared it “highly original” and decreed that Raspail’s “narrative, howsoever exaggerated for effect, was a distillation and condensation of observable reality.”

The plot of the book is the same as today’s stories: Does the West have the will to repel Third-World migration? Though the novel—more a fable than anything else—is largely unknown to the general population, for the “demographics is destiny” crowd it approximates the same place that Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” does for libertarians.
<snip>

Bannon is a scourge to democracy; that bastard has sown chaos on at least 3 continents...

He is a dangerous, utterly toxic creature who has ZERO qualms about destroying people’s lives by fomenting chaos and confusion, and blueprinting the destruction of the world’s vulnerable democratic governments. He does so by amping up the WORST aspects of the human personality: blind hatred of “the other,” anti-Semitism (“globalists,” as used by David Duke and Alex Jones), militarism, and destruction, in this case, of checks and balances, transparency, and stability.

Bannon, doggedly pursuing what he terms “deconstruction of the administrative state,” has spread his ideology by coaching right-wing nationalists worldwide. He’s been given shrift by nationalists in the U.S. and U.K. (obviously), Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Italy, France, Sweden, Israel, Brazil, and he’s expected to consult on 45’s re-election bid (no surprise there).

Just take one look at Bannon: his crusty, greasy, scabby, moth-eaten, repulsive exterior dark is merely a reflection of the disturbed, dark undercurrents going on INSIDE the man. More than any other alt-right/neo-fascist, Bannon got the ball rolling for 45 and his team of far-right extremists. (They are anything but “conservative.”) He’s even acknowledged having a role in selecting 45’s insane, ill-fitting and nihilistic cabinet appointees, stating that they “were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/top-wh-strategist-vows-a-daily-fight-for-deconstruction-of-the-administrative-state/2017/02/23/03f6b8da-f9ea-11e6-bf01-d47f8cf9b643_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c6d384eb687a

Funny how much they love BIG government when they're in power.

They pivot from “drowning it in the bathtub” to irradiating it into Godzilla:

-Adherence to the rule of LAW by the nation’s top executives and their supporting political party? NO, says big RW government.
-Women’s equality and reproductive rights? NO, says big RW government.
-Concentration of extraordinary power in the executive branch? YES, says big RW government.
-Secured national elections? NO, says big RW government.
-Go to war WITHOUT the consent of the people (Congress)? YES, says big RW government.
-Conspire with a hostile foreign power to win elections and financial gain? YES, says big RW government.
-A fair shake for POC and GLBTQ folk? NO, says big RW government.
-Quality healthcare for Americans? NO, says big RW government.
-Minority rule by the outdated Electoral College, gerrymandering, and voter suppression? YES, says big RW government.
-Denial of science and the existential threat of climate change? YES, says big RW government.
-Profiting monetarily off one’s office while “serving”? YES, says big RW government.

Sadly, this list could go on and on. If these criminals aren’t tossed out one way or another, we are all thoroughly (sorry, but...) fucked.

IMPEACH NOW. It doesn’t get rid of the problem, but it brands the S.O.B. as the asshole he is. And who knows what insanity the 2020 election will bring? There are no guarantees anymore.

Hold 45 accountable, NOW.

It's sobering that so many Americans are now very comfortable with (call it what it is) FASCISM.

All the "drown the government in the bathtub" reactionaries now prefer a government that drowns democracy on a daily basis. They love holding power much more than being faithful to the very Constitutional ideals which they crow about. How did America get so petty, so enraged, and so unwilling to be a fair-minded leader on the international stage?

Because one-time "conservatives" transformed themselves into right-wing radical nationalists. The entire Republican Party (which has been teetering toward fascism since Nixon) finally got completely sucked into a black hole of anti-democracy, anti-science, anti-intellectualism, and hatred of POC, women, and LGBTQ folk, etc. The far-right-wing media has played a huge part in this demolition-derby by stoking fear and rage on a daily basis for the past 30-plus years.

Merriam-Webster's definition of fascism:
Often capitalized: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

From the Encyclopaedia Britannica's entry on fascism:
https://www.britannica.com/topic/fascism/Neofascism
In the second decade of the 21st century, right-wing populist and neofascist parties and movements in western Europe enjoyed a surge of popularity, fueled in part by a large influx of Muslim immigrants following the Arab Spring revolts in 2010–11 and, in some countries, by continued resentment of the European Union (EU). Although Muslims in Europe nowhere became a majority of voters, they increased their numbers substantially. In France the FN, now led by Le Pen’s daughter Marine Le Pen, advanced for only the second time to the second round of that country’s presidential elections in 2017 (she was defeated by the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron). In Germany in 2017, the far-right party Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland; AfD), which had adopted an overtly anti-Islamic platform, won nearly 13 percent of the presidential vote in national elections, and by the following year it was the second most popular political party in Germany, after the Christian Democrats.

At about the same time, a wave of right-wing populism in the United States led, in 2016, to the unexpected electoral victory of Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. His campaign had stoked hostility toward Muslim and Mexican immigrants. Trump promised to suspend immigration from Muslim-majority countries because of the threat of terrorism; to build a wall along the country’s southern border to prevent the illegal immigration of Mexicans; and to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, the great majority of whom had come from Latin America. Among Trump’s supporters were white supremacists—including members of the Ku Klux Klan—self-described “white nationalists,” and neo-Nazis, none of whom he disavowed. Indeed, members of those groups became more outspoken as Trump’s campaign gained momentum and especially after his election in November, believing, with some justification, that their ideas were finally gaining a place within mainstream political discourse. In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s election and during the first year of his presidency, reported hate crimes directed at minorities—including Hispanics, Muslims, and Jews—increased significantly.

A not-insignificant number of Americans would welcome totalitarian rule.

Because they really care *nothing* about the laws of the land, national debt, healthcare, science, climate change, education, women’s rights, infrastructure, foreign policy, etc., etc.

The ONE thing they want, above all else, is “owning the libs.” If it meant destroying everything in sight, they’d be fine with it, as long as some tinpot dictator is “owning the libs” on their behalf.

Like conditioned lab rats, they will vote against their own interests time after time, as long as it means that women will be denied abortions; that they can keep their military-style weaponry; that persons of color will continue to be “kept in their place”; and that their religious beliefs can steamroller any laws.

Richard Nixon was "patient zero"; Trump is the advanced stage of disease.

And Reagan really spread the infection far and wide. Note that since Nixon took office in 1969, and allowing 45 to finish his term in 2021, America will have had 32 years under Republican administrations, and a mere 20 years of Democratic administrations. Two general elections were thrown to Republicans by the Electoral College and numerous other interferences, including a hostile attack by a foreign power.

I use the assassination of JFK as the lit-match starting point; after that tragedy, we got the phony Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and then it was all-in for U.S. military contractors in Vietnam. Then comes Nixon, whose leftovers populated the Reagan, Bush I and II administrations.

Trump has added his own mix of overt gangsterism, overt lawlessness, overt fascism, overt old-Soviet-style disinformation, and overt suffocation of democracy.

Since this monster has been growing steadily since the early 1960s, it’ll take decades to recover and rebuild democracy. And it appears that there will ALWAYS be 30%-40% of Americans who will oppose ANYTHING that doesn’t consist of “owning the libs,” which, however infantile, is their most important goal.
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